Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Xmould...

...or Chrimbo, or Solstice, or whatever it is you celebrate when the days get short and the air gets cold and the snow covers the ground and the booze becomes a necessity.

We've had a fine time in Winnipeg and in Winnipeg Beach and of course out at Wavey Creek. Shilling work started two years ago today, officially, though it would not be fair to say we have two years of work into the build. We're almost done glassing the inside, so I thought I'd put up some pix of the latest. There are nine sections, between frames, on each side of the boat, and seven are now glassed. This is one of the forward sections, mostly finished.

Tara finally got to experience the joy that is glassing, which was most fulfilling I'm sure; her enthusiasm knows no bounds, and she is now stoking it with a beer in front of the fireplace. This picture is one of Tara's sections... still wet but it looks good, eh?

More pix as developments warrant them. For now, stay warm, and drink lots. It helps.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


It took a while, but we have cleaned up the inside of the hull preparatory to glassing. Courtney, Tara, Buster, Cathy, and Ron (welcome back, Ron!) then turned the boat right side up. In the pictures you can see the lovely Tara standing in the cockpit and seated in what will be the cabin.

Glassing the inside is next, probably a couple of long days this week as Courtney is on vacation. More updates soon, we're past the boring stuff!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Another rollover

So a cast of thousands (well, over half a dozen, anyway) were out on Sunday to help roll the boat over onto her starboard side. Since the topsides now face away from the workbench, we can post a good photo of the interior.

As you can see, most of the glue squeezeout on the port side has been cleaned up, and some of the starboard side as well. What's left should clean up pretty quickly now that we know what we're doing. (There is a wealth of comment on the whole building process in that one sentence, folks, if you care to dwell on it!)

The final picture is a detail shot of the bulwarks and interior planking somewhere more-or-less amidships, inside what will be the cabin. The cabin side (below the deck shelf stringer in the picture) will be glassed and left bright, 'cause Tara wants it that way; this calls for a decent sanding job. The bulwarks we will paint white on the inside, so they're being filled and faired - you can see that the process is almost complete in the section above the deck shelf.

Many thanks to Peter, Trent, and Bruce & Shelly & kids - many hands make light work, and if the light don't work, we can't see to turn the boat over. Cheers!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A linky, a linky!

No pictures, because the work we're doing right now is kind of boring and doesn't produce good visuals. We'll post pictures when the inside of the hull is cleaned up.

However, we would like to draw your attention to a new link in the links section. Sailing Margherita is the sailing blog for willowbayboy's Shilling. His is rigged out as a gaff cutter and is VERY striking. Check it out!

Monday, September 15, 2008


Yesterday was a LONG day of work - the longest in quite a while, as applying a coat of paint doesn't take long. Tara and Courtney and friend Tina (a traveler from Germany) headed out to Wavey Creek after breakfast to build the cradle that will hold the Shilling for the coming months of fitting out. The first picture shows the blue bulwarks with their last coat of paint.

Working from a rough sketch we started work on the cradle, building a base of 2x4s and fitting the central beam to the keel. This part progressed kind of slowly, because Buster was busy installing new sliding glass doors to the deck upstairs and needed to use some of the same tools. It was a busy day at Twin Oaks.

We had figured on about six hours to build the cradle, and it took all of that. The third photo shows the cradle partially constructed, with vertical posts long enough to support the boat upside down if need be. You can also see the beams running across the sheer - we'll remove them when we work on the gunwales, as the diagonal braces (not yet in place) should hold the boat securely when it's resting upright in the cradle.

Buster, temporarily finished with door installation, applied his drawknife skills to said diagonal braces, giving a nice fit where they support the hull. They were the last pieces to be added to the cradle, which should be strong enough to hold the boat upside down, upright, or standing on either side.

By the time we were done building the cradle it was time out for the usual Wavey Creek feast, with a cast of... well, not thousands, but Courtney's sister Lee was there, and her kids Tim and Heather, and three more helpers showed up for dinner and heavy lifting: Kyle (bass player in Courtney's band), his partner Carmella, and Courtney's colleague Colin.

The next job was to remove all of the old construction frame, which took a little while - and a lot of work from Tara, crawling around under the boat. Here you can see Tina, Colin, and Kyle (well, Kyle's head), along with the finished cradle. Note the shop floor, which - with no construction frame - is cleaner than it's been for well over a year.

The next photo shows the boat halfway to its side - you can't see much of the guys doing the heavy lifting on the far side. We held the boat roughly balanced there while a couple guys scuttled 'round and let it gently down onto its side. The whole rollover was completed in a minute or so, though the preparation had taken all day.

With the boat resting neatly on its side, we had a good look at the inside and contemplated our next moves. Plenty of cleanup, there's lots of glue squeezeout on the inside, and then we have to fair and glass the inside, and then there's fitting out the cabin, and and and and...

But it feels pretty good to reach this major milestone! The last shot shows Colin, Tara, and Tina checking out the interior, with Kyle looking on. Then it was all over except for the whisky and songs. Many thanks to our helpers, we know who you are and we'll be calling you again! Heheheheheh...

(Adjusted and updated the photos. Note to self: edit all photos on the good monitor at work! - CW)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Rollover coming!

So the white Brightsides went on well, and after that two coats of dark blue on the bulwarks. We'll probably do another coat of each before we launch, just in case we nick or ding the paint during construction.

So our Shilling is ready to roll over so we can start fitting out the interior! We plan to build the cradle tomorrow and roll her over tomorrow evening (with friends to help and whisky to toast her afterward). We'll post lots of pictures tomorrow or Monday. W00T!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A picture, a picture!

Just the one, though: here's a shot after the second coat of Brightsides has been applied. You may note the bulwarks are not yet painted; they'll be getting the blue stuff next.

Still undecided as to whether there will be another coat of white (probably) and when it will be applied (maybe later).

Friday, September 5, 2008

Yeah yeah

I promised pictures, and now I'm not delivering. We did apply a coat of topsides paint, but we decided to do the white and paint the boot top later. The first coat of Brightsides "Blu-Glo White" looked good, wet-sanded well, and is waiting for the humidity to drop before it gets a second coat. If you're good, you might get pictures of that, but only if you brush your teeth and go to bed right now.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Priming finished

Now that Courtney's back in the flatlands, the last primer coat is on the topsides. Blue boot top and bulwarks to follow this weekend, with pictures even.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Cruising, not building

Courtney's been out in BC cruising aboard Island Eagle, and having a fine time of it, too. We've run across some interesting boats.

The other day in Montague Harbour we saw a Diesel Duck 462 (Mandarin, which was the very first 462 built by Seahorse Yachts, in fact) - this is significant because Courtney wants to retire on a Duck one day. What a lovely little ship!

We also ran across Mareva a couple of times, first in Montague and then when we moored right next to her in Ganges on Saltspring Island. Scott almost bought Mareva before he settled on Island Eagle.

Finally, for those of you who haven't seen Island Eagle herself, here's a nice arty shot framed by driftwood. Real purty, yup.

Courtney should be back in Winnipeg on Tuesday, and Shilling construction (well, painting) should resume shortly thereafter.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Quick note

Just a quick note to say that the second coat of bottom paint is on. Further painting was prevented by Courtney's band playing at Folklorama for a week, not to mention the cold and ear infection the subsequent week. Still getting over that, and tomorrow it's off to Island Eagle for some cruising, so don't expect any further news for a couple of weeks.

THEN we'll be back at it, you damn betcha.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Bottom paint

First coat of bottom paint is on. Pictures!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Where have we been?

I've been in Brandon, headlining at their excellent little folk festival. Tara's been busy with other stuff. We have done some work, though.

Last week we went out to get ready for bottom painting (oh, hush!) but Detail Girl became sidetracked by the leading edges of the bilge keels. Too square, they were, and in dire need of rounding off ("mumble overseas mumble first place mumble fritz...").

Sooooo I went at them with a chisel, and Detail Girl (I really have to make her a T-shirt) sanded them, and we put on a coat of primer, and we sanded the rest of the primer, and we washed the hull, and that was pretty much our evening. Dad was good enough to sand and add another coat of primer (after all, this was bare wood, not sealed like the rest of the bottom) the next morning.

When we arrived last night, we sanded the second coat of primer and Pronounced It Good. Then it was time to build a water level and mark the waterline in preparation for the aforementioned bottom painting (stop giggling!). What's a water level, you ask? Well, I say, I'll tell you.

Long ago in Olden Tymes, there was no such thing as laser levels. Shocking, I know. So in order to make sure a bunch of things were at the same level, you either measured from a known reference, or you used a water level. They're particularly good for waterlines, given the irregular shape of a hull.

We built ours from an old piece of Tygon™ tubing, a piece of garden hose to which the tubing was carefully joined (ah, electrical tape), a pail, and a dive-belt weight to hold the end of the hose at the bottom of the pail. Here's a picture:

You can see one end of the hose disappearing into the pail; the business end is the tubing, temporarily jammed into the pail handle for safekeeping.

To set up the level, we placed the tubing end up against the transom/keel joint and added water to the pail until the meniscus (look it up if you have to!) was at the right level for the line between the bottom paint and the boot stripe. Then we moved the tubing along the hull, marking out the waterline from stern to bow on both sides.

After that came the fun of springing a batten along the marks to get the fairest line possible, and marking the line on the hull. This took six hands in places (Mom helped) because wood doesn't like to be bent like that. We think the line looks pretty good.

The next step was to very carefully tape off the line with expensive blue masking tape, which has a very fine edge, then add another strip of cheaper and wider masking tape below the blue stuff. By the time we finished all that, and disassembled the water level and returned its parts to their proper places, it was time to head home. But we're all set to put on two coats of bottom paint over the weekend. See how good the tape line looks? (Oooooh. Aaaaah.)

Oh yeah, you can also see the newly rounded bilge keels if you look closely at the second picture. Which I know you all will. Heh.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Primer coat on!

No work last weekend because it was Folk Festival time. It was an oddity as the annual gathering of the freaky clans goes, because we missed Friday night due to a Mark Knopfler concert (awesome) and Saturday night due to the worst weather in Festival memory (cooold with horizontal rain and extreme winds). We decided a hot bath and whisky beat freezing our butts off Saturday night.

Anyway, Ed still hasn't sent the pix (c'mon, Ed!), but last week we sanded the sealer coats and washed the boat. Tonight we washed once more with thinner and brushed on a primer coat. It looks pretty good.

We'll put on the first of two coats of bottom paint this weekend, I think, and then sand and prime and sand the topsides before we put on the topsides paint. I'll try to post more pictures; our friend Malcolm came to check out the boat and took a bunch of shots of us painting.

Edited on November 17th 2008:

We finally got a bunch of pictures from Malcolm. Here are some of my favourites from the "priming the hull" series:

Washing with thinner


Giggling about something

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The promised pix

Not much has changed, really - just that there are now three coats of S-1 sealer on all the bare wood and fillets. The stem (first pic) is nice and shiny and waterproof. You can see the bilge keels and skeg, too, but the second shot makes them a little more clear.

That's probably it for sealer - now we just have to fine-sand all over and give everything a good wash, and we're ready for primer!

Friday, June 27, 2008

New linky

Kind words and a link from bdillahu over at A quick glance (I am supposed to be working) suggests it's worth checking out in depth. Thanks Bruce!

Sealer coat is on

Sanded the fillets and applied the first coat of S-1 sealer last night. The stuff has a pretty long pot life so I mixed up a decent batch and will put on as many coats as possible before it hardens in the jar. Pix coming soon.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Douglas fir is splintery

So I'm sanding away on the keel, and the sanding block lifted up a big splinter which proceeded to enter the tip of my right thumb. Somewhat painful, some blood, but worst of all, a delay in the sanding while I glued the splinter back into place.

Then the band was off on a road trip, followed by a bunch of gigs back home, so the boat took a bit of a back seat. I'm pleased to say that I got back to work last Sunday, completing the epoxy fillets along the edges of the stem, keel, skeg, and bilge keels. Assuming tomorrow's sanding goes without a hitch, I'll put the first coat of sealer on the remaining bare wood tomorrow night. A couple more coats of sealer, final sanding on any stray epoxy drips, and a good wash, and it's painting time! Good thing Tara's home.

Oh, and I'll try to be more diligent about posting now that we're back to work.

Monday, May 26, 2008

At last, fresh pix!

For a variety of reasons, it's been a while since we posted pictures, but here are a couple to illustrate progress. The first one shows the stem and keel along with the bilge keels, which will help keep our Shilling level when she's on the hard. Constructing the bilge keels was interesting - they're laminated into a curve and then fit to the hull, which involves complex curves of its own, so the fit was a tricky iterative process.

The second shot shows the bilge keels from the stern, and also the skeg, which projects up (well, down, once she's righted) from the keel. As you can see, we still have to fillet the joints and do some final sanding and sealing, but the bottom structure is basically complete. Painting is tentatively scheduled for mid-to-late June, as both Tara and Buster will be out of town until the middle of the month.

Real progress, though--W00T!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Actually, pix THIS weekend.

I decided to hold off taking pictures until the bilge keels and skeg are in place, which is the last assembly job before we paint. In the meantime, we've chosen a colour scheme: Blu-glo White with dark blue bulwarks. Here's a rough look with the chosen colours:

Yep, she's gonna be pretty!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Quick update without pix

I'll try to post some pix this weekend; we've installed the keel and stem and laminated up the bilge keels and skeg.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Colour schemes

Per my last post, we're getting close to painting the hull. This calls for some serious decision-making, and being that kind of bear, I decided to whip up some graphic treatments of various colour schemes to make the choice more, um, reality-based.

All feature the same gorgeous BC background, sails textured from photos of actual sailcloth, and colours from the paint company's colour charts. The Photoshop work is quick and dirty, and there are no fine detail lines - we're just looking at topsides colours at this point. Oh, and I left the cabin, rudder, masts etc. white 'cause I'm lazy.

I know there are millions and millions of people reading this blog (heh), so I have decided to post these for your amusement and feedback. So, without further ado, I give you... Six Scrummy Schemes for Sturdy Sailboats!

1. With tanbark sails (kinda traditional in the land of the Shilling):

Dark blue with Hatteras off-white

Dark blue with buff

2. With white sails:

Hatteras off-white with dark blue

Blu-Glo white with sapphire blue

Blu-Glo white with buff

Off-white with sapphire blue

There are lots of other possible combinations, but these are the ones I like best, so they're the ones you get to see. If you have other suggestions, though, I'm happy to entertain them. Oh yeah, two more things: you can click the pictures for a larger version, and the colours look their most realistic if you actually print the pictures.

So, what do you think, O Mighty Blagsphere? I'd love your feedback!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

It's been a while!

Saw some great Oysterband shows in Alberta, and now Tara's gallivanting around the UK for a couple of months. That leaves me (Courtney) plenty of time to work on the boat.

Did some sanding on Wednesday night, and then Dad finished it up over the next few days. Today we put on the LAST few little patches of fairing compound (not much, as you can see, and it'll sand off very quickly). We also put the keel on (detail pic on the right, taken from the starboard bow).

Next order of business will be the stem and the bilge keels, and tidying the joint between the keel and the hull, not to mention the CP case slot. And THEN we'll be ready to paint and roll her over. Excitement!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Tired. No pix.

Quick update: glass job was basically really good, a bit of sag on the starboard bow but otherwise pretty clean. Tara, Courtney, and friend Mark were out on Sunday to sand and tidy the edges; it was good fun having Mark there and it's always nice to find someone else to paint the fence. Last night Courtney and Buster put on a strip of glass to reinforce the bow and a thin coat of fairing compound over the whole hull. The last coat... please, please, please, let it be the last coat, otherwise Courtney is afraid that he will wake up one morning and find his arms have said "Bugger this for a lark" and gone off to Rio for hols. And that would make it hard to play music.

But seriously, it's looking really good and we'll have a bit of an enforced break, 'cause next week is the long-awaited "chase Oysterband through western Canada road trip"!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Glassed, by Toutatis!

Dad and I got two applications of epoxy on, here's a picture of the port side. We'll leave it and do some sanding - maybe even some fairing - before we put on any more epoxy. It's looking good!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Glassing progress

I (Courtney) am out at Wavey Creek for the weekend, probably, due to a nasty storm. Just as well, there's lots of work to be done glassing this puppy.

Today Dad and I fit four swaths of 10 oz. fibreglass cloth. The inside layer on each side goes from the keel to a little above the waterline, then is covered by an outer layer from the keel to the sheer. Both sides are now pinned in place; we'll do the laminating epoxy tomorrow.

Here's a picture showing the glass on the starboard side (I actually took this shot before we did the port side). The arrows trace the line of the inner layer. It's still a little loose (and long) along the sheer; we'll trim it later. So far so good!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Fairing is done. At looong last. For now. (We might do a bit of fine fairing between glassing, which takes place this weekend, and painting, which won't be for a while.)

Pictures, we have pictures! First the by-now-traditional portside view, showing the results of three or four rounds of filling and sanding. It looks patchy, I'll admit - but it feels smooooove. Like Smoove B., only smoover.

Here's a close-up with enhanced contrast. You can see how the multiple applications overlap or shrink into the centre of a big low spot. Those big low spots took some filling, but don't take my word for it; ask my triceps.

Finally, a shot from the stern, looking down on the boat. You can also see Buster aka Dad, laminating up the stem for an outboard planing boat he's building. This one is a step up in size from his Mud Cat, so he's calling it Channel Cat. Needless to say, it'll be in the water before our Shilling...

But I'm feeling pretty chuffed for the moment. The fairing was probably the hardest job, in terms of physical work, we'll face in this entire build... and it's done. Ish.

So, W00T!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Monday, March 10, 2008

Fairing continues

We're into the third round of fairing and I think this will be the last one barring some isolated low spots that might need one more fill-in. Things are looking good - we'll try to post some pictures before we glass, which should be the weekend after next.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Pix, although it's not the weekend

Yeah, yeah, I said I'd have these up on the weekend. They're late, but I hope they're interesting and worth waiting for.

As reported earlier, we first tried a notched trowel with our epoxy and phenolic microballoon fairing compound. However, it turned out that the hull was already smooth enough (Courtney's devoted sanding, heh) that the ridges were pretty much unnecessary. To see how the port side of the hull looks with a first application of fairing compound using a flat blade, take a look at the first pic.

The starboard side is a little further along. About 1/3 of that side got the ridged trowel treatment, before we decided it was unnecessary; the rest got the flat spatula. Then we sanded, using power sanders on the really high bits, followed by longboards. The longboards, which we made out of multiple layers of flexible plastic, conform to the hull's curves and sand down the high spots.

The second picture shows some bare wood (whitish), longboarded fairing compound (light pink), and a second layer of fairing compound (darker areas) applied to the low spots. The starboard side will be finished very shortly - we just have to longboard the second layer, which should go very quickly.

Finally, although it's in reverse order, I thought I'd show the effects of the ridged trowel. This close-up shows the ridges, sanded down and filled in with the second application of fairing compound. Again, smoothing this part with the longboard should go quite quickly.

Good thing, too - they're really tiring! Folks don't call them "tortureboards" for nothing... but at least Tara should be able to make it out next weekend, so she can experience a little of the fun that is fairing. Oh yeah, if you're playing along at home, here's what we've learned:
  • the ridged trowel thing might not be necessary if your hull is already very smooth;
  • if you use a ridged trowel, you want pretty low ridges (maybe 3-4 mm?);
  • make the ridges all run parallel to the floor - it doesn't make a difference when you're applying the first layer, but it does when you go to apply the second, because you can apply it across the ridges easily and it won't sag down the grooves.
So that's the big fairing update. We've also ordered 50 yards of 60", 10 oz. fibreglass cloth for sheathing, and another gallon of epoxy. The next big adventure is sheathing!